2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    Apr 19, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Biomedical Sciences MD/PhD Track

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College: Medicine Degree: PhD
Department: Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences Option: Dissertation
Program Websites: https://med.ucf.edu/biomed/graduate-programs/
Graduate Program Handbook

Track Description

The College of Medicine offers an integrated MD/PhD curriculum that enables students to fulfill all requirements and earn the Doctor of Medicine and the Doctor of Philosophy.

This program provides opportunity for MD students to obtain advanced research and training experience and for PhD students to obtain medical training. The program develops physician-scientists with preparation for both academic research and teaching careers. Physician-scientists are in an excellent position to facilitate bench-to-bedside translation of applicable research findings.


Students must fulfill all requirements for both programs to earn both the MD and PhD degrees. As indicated in the curriculum description, some medical modules can be substituted for certain graduate courses and vice versa to help reduce redundancy and streamline time to completion of this integrated program. Students will be able to complete the MD/PhD program in as few as 6 years, although most students will likely require 7-8 years to fulfill all of the requirements. An MD/PhD program committee consisting of faculty from both the medical and graduate programs will serve as the oversight committee responsible for tracking and evaluating student progress in this program.

Total Credit Hours Required: 72 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor’s Degree

Students in the integrated MD/PhD Track in Biomedical Sciences must be accepted in the College of Medicine MD program and begin working on their PhD research project during the first two years of medical school. Students take medical courses during the first two years and must successfully pass the USMLE Step 1 exam at the end of year 2 prior to beginning full-time graduate studies in the Biomedical Sciences PhD Program. Required and elective graduate courses for the PhD program are completed in years 3-4 while the student is continuing research. Clinical clerkships that are typically completed in years 3-4 of medical school will in most cases be deferred until the student has completed the PhD program requirements, though some minimum level of ongoing clinical training will continue throughout the entire duration of the program. This ensures that the student remains connected with clinical education and training even while primarily focused on the graduate portion of the MD/PhD program.

The Biomedical Sciences PhD program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, including a minimum total of 27 hours of formal course work exclusive of independent study that are required. The 72 credit hours in the PhD program consists of 23 credit hours of core courses, 12 credit hours of electives, and a minimum of 15 credit hours of dissertation research. The remaining 22 credit hours may consist of additional electives, doctoral research and/or dissertation research. Students entering with a master’s degree may request that up to 30 semester credit hours of previous course work be waived as degree requirements with approval from the dissertation committee.

The MD curriculum can be found here: http://med.ucf.edu/academics/md-program/integrated-curriculum/.

Programmatic deficiencies expected of applicants from diverse settings will be addressed early in the program by completion of appropriate course work. Students may register for doctoral research until they have been admitted to candidacy, after which they must register for dissertation research.

New students will rotate through at least two different laboratories to identify a faculty mentor/sponsor and research area of interest for their dissertation. Finally, a sequence of required seminars will familiarize students with field-related literature and introduce them to the conceptual and technical frameworks in which they will work. All students receiving assistantships must enroll full time.

MD/PhD students are required to maintain good academic standing in both the MD and PhD components of the curriculum. Students must first satisfactorily complete the first two years of the medical school curriculum and pass the USMLE Step 1 exam before they can begin full-time PhD enrollment.

Required Courses—21 Credit Hours

Elective Courses—12 Credit Hours

At least 12 hours of electives must be taken from the following list. Any electives not on this list must be approved by the Graduate Committee before being counted toward degree credit requirements. Directed research, doctoral research and dissertation research may be used to satisfy requirements beyond the first 12 hours, with approval from the program director. Students successfully completing the first year of medical school at UCF may substitute the following medical modules to fulfill the elective course requirement:

Additional Electives

Additional electives may be taken as needed from the following list of approved graduate courses:

Unrestricted Electives—24 Credit Hours Minimum

Students should take 24 credit hours of electives, directed research, doctoral research or dissertation research, in consultation with their adviser.

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours Minimum

  • IDS 7980 - Dissertation Research 15 Credit Hours

Candidacy Examination

Candidacy will consist of writing and orally defending a proposal outlining a novel research idea to the dissertation committee. The written proposal will be prepared independently, following NIH-style grant format, and must be approved by the dissertation committee (see Biomedical Sciences PhD Program description for full description of Candidacy Exam requirements and procedures). After passing the candidacy examination and meeting other requirements as specified, the student can register for dissertation hours.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours:

  • Successfully complete a minimum of 48 credit hours.
  • Successful completion of Academic Integrity requirements.
  • Successful completion of all coursework, except for dissertation hours.  
  • Successful completion of candidacy.
  • Successful defense of the written dissertation proposal.  
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.  
  • Submission of an approved program of study.

Dissertation Defense

The dissertation should be of significant scope and depth such that the work has made significant advances in the area of biomedical science. The Ph.D. dissertation research must generate sufficient quantity and quality data to support a minimum of two original manuscripts (first-authored by the student) in a mainstream journal in the field. One first-author original research article published or accepted for publication is required for pre-defense. In addition to meeting the pre-defense requirement for publication, a second manuscript must have been submitted and subjected to peer review before the defense.

Upon completion and approval of the doctoral dissertation by all designated faculty and university offices, the student will make a formal presentation of the research findings in a seminar format to the dissertation committee and other university faculty and students. The candidate will answer questions and defend conclusions about the subject matter.

Independent Learning

The dissertation serves as the independent learning experience.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions  section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

Applicants entering the program with regular status are expected to have completed course work required for a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, molecular biology or microbiology.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements , applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Official, MCAT score taken within the last five years.To send MCAT scores electronically, please use the AAMC score reporting system.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Statement of research interest and purpose, including a summary of relevant work or research experience.
  • Résumé.
  • A personal or telephone interview.
  • In addition to the above requirements, students must also meet the requirements for medical school admission: http://med.ucf.edu/administrative-officers/student-affairs/admissions/

Admission is based on an overall assessment of the qualifications submitted and the interview. All admissions to the MD/PhD program are competitive and based on availability of faculty for sponsoring research.

Interested applicants must first apply to the UCF medical school through AMCAS and indicate on their medical school application that they are applying for MD/PhD. 

Students interested in pursuing a combined MD/PhD degree must apply and be accepted into medical school and the Biomedical Sciences PhD program. Separate applications are required, and students wishing to pursue this joint degree program should indicate this and state their reasons on both applications.

AMCAS Application

Applicants must complete an application through the online American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) at www.aamc.org. AMCAS is the national application service that processes applications for M.D. Programs throughout the nation. Through AMCAS, an applicant may apply to most M.D. programs by completing one application and paying the appropriate fees. AMCAS provides the college with applicant information immediately upon completion of AMCAS transcript verification process.

The AMCAS application period begins in late May and terminates on or before December 15 prior to the year in which the applicant anticipates enrollment. The AMCAS Application deadline is the date when students must submit the application, all fees, original transcripts, and associated data to AMCAS.

Applicants who are selected for medical school interviews at UCF will be invited to apply through the Graduate School portal for the PhD portion of the combined program. Please note that applications that do not come through AMCAS will not be considered for MD/PhD track.

Application Deadlines

MD / PHD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15 Feb 1    
International Applicants Jan 15 Jan 15    
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information  section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Steven Ebert PhD
Associate Professor
Telephone: 407-266-7047
BBS 421

Graduate Admissions

Jennifer Yuhas
Telephone: 407-823-2766
Millican Hall 230  
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address

UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL  32816-0112

Institution Codes
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241

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